Does owning a sports team seems like the most entertaining business ever? Do you imagine yourself trading players like Pokémon cards, watching the game from the owner’s box, calling the shots, and enjoying unlimited access to sports celebrities and free beer? Take a look at the following five sports team owners whose jobs you might like to call your own.
Image via Flickr by Keith Allison
The world’s richest sports team owner made his $23 billion fortune as CEO of Microsoft. After leaving the company in 2014, Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers. His winning bid was more than triple the previous record for an NBA franchise. Word circulated that Ballmer overpaid for the team — that is until the NBA signed a $24 billion television contract later that year that was about triple the value of the previous deal.
Denise York owns the San Francisco 49ers football team. The team recently showed a 60 percent jump in value, mostly due to decisions to open a new $1.2 billion stadium. The facility seats more than 68,000 fans and offers 165 luxury suites and 8,500 club seats. The increase in the team’s value brings York back into the billionaire fold; she is now worth $2.4 billion.
Daryl Katz, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers, is one of the richest men in Canada. Katz built his fortune in the drugstore business and recently sold off his Rexall Drugstore chain for $3 billion. Katz made several unsuccessful bids to buy the Oilers before he successfully acquired his hometown team, and he is reveling in the role of owner. He’s turned his full attention to the sports and entertainment world, an arena building project, and involvement in the movie industry through his Oilers Entertainment Group.
Micky Arison is the heir to the Carnival Cruise company. His father was a co-founder of the company; Arison himself dropped out of college to join the young company, which turned out to be a smart move. He ran the business for 34 years as CEO before he left in June 2013.
Arison took control of the Miami Heat NBA team in 1995, and he sat at the helm while the team and its superstar player, LeBron James, played to four straight NBA Finals seasons and two championship wins.
Paul Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers. In theory, he’s having twice as much fun as any of the other owners on this list. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his high school friend Bill Gates, left the company after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Once he beat the disease, he set out to enjoy his fortune. He’s known for piloting his megayachts to exotic locales, playing guitar in a rock band, and serving as owner of the Seahawks and the Trail Blazers.
Although owning a sports team must certainly come with tremendous stress and big-league headaches, it’s hard not to envy the men and women who get to sit in the owners’ boxes.